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A perfect summer’s day found us wandering amongst lakes in central Minnesota, north of Mille Lacs.  Blue sky, puffy clouds, a light breeze and a warm sun were all part of this epitome of summer.  As we were out on the water my eye became focused on the reflection in the water.  In one slow shutter-speed moment, the blue sky above was reflected in the surface.  White clouds streaming by lent their movement, and the darker gray and dark blue of the water itself gave a wonderful abstract.

fall-color-reflection-14359_staatsI was up early yesterday morning hoping for a beautiful sunrise to compliment the fall colors that we’re enjoying in Minnesota.  But as luck would have it, the cloud cover was too thick and there was no sunshine.  However, it was unusually warm and the colors were still wonderful.  There was enough wind to throw ripples across the lake and there was a shoreline that was mostly protected from the wind.  Looking through the camera lens I was mesmerized by the color reflection in the water.  The slight movement created a blur of colors and the more I looked at it the more I was reminded of the Northern Lights, only here they were playing out as reflections in a northern lake.

fern-design-14021_staatsI spent a couple of hours this morning at the McNeely Conservatory at Como Park.  The flowers were beautiful and the rain gradually cleared away while I was there.  But today I was seeing lines, rather than colorful flowers.  I spotted this fern near a window.  Gracefully it arched upward, and its tips hung down and even swirled over itself.  I walked around the fern and photographed many of the branches.  And then I saw this one as I was looking down.  Its green color was complimented by the flooring stones and it spread and twirled below where I stood.  For some reason this image became all about the simplicity, the lines, the colors, and the gracefulness of the fern.

Garlic scapes 13554_StaatsFor the past few years our vegetable garden bed has included garlic.  So very easy to grow, but the highlight to me is at this time of year, about a month prior to harvest.  Certain varieties of garlic develop scapes – a bulb or flower near the top of a characteristic curled stem.  They appear graceful as they twist and curve on the long stems high above the ground.  Even better is that they are delicious and provide a “preview of coming attractions” prior to the actual bulb harvest.  We particularly enjoy them sauteed, lending a subtle garlic flavor to whatever they are served with.

Landscape from above PS2417StaatsI made a quick trip to the Kansas City area this weekend.  A one-way flight on Friday late afternoon took me 450 miles south of Minnesota.  The sunset was stunning and the landscape below is always interesting.  A pattern of fields and rivers, valleys and hills, and eventually roads with car lights that dot the lines from horizon to horizon.  But what was more noticeable to me this time, was the difference in the seasons.  Leaving Minnesota, our grass is brown and our lakes still have some ice on them.  Snow is still visible in protected areas.  But once I was in Kansas City I realized what a difference 450 miles makes in the seasons.  The magnolia trees were in bloom, the bright yellow of the forsythia was glowing, and daffodils were showing their golden faces.  Even the grass was no longer brown, and fields of winter wheat were a beautiful green.  The drive home made the seasonal difference even more noticeable.  Throughout northern Iowa and southern Minnesota grasses in the fields were visibly packed down from the weight of the recently melted snow, and there was a demarcation line that the red-winged blackbirds had not crossed yet in their journey to the north.  Green grass will take-over in Minnesota, and flowers will bloom, and the blackbirds will be in our neighborhood, but nature hasn’t stretched her warm hands this far north yet.

Dancing flowers at sunset 10273_StaatsI was recently out photographing before sunset.  What I was hoping would be a calm evening was developing into just the opposite.  The heat of the day and the increasing humidity were causing the wind to be quite blustery.  My first instinct was to turn around and go home, but instead I decided to go with it.  Silhouetting the flowers behind the glow of the western sky, and using a longer shutter speed, I let the flowers “dance” in front of the lens.  The more I watched, the more I enjoyed the unpredictable movement of the flowers.  The images seemed to take on a life of their own almost as if knowing that summer is fleeting and now’s the time to celebrate it.

Car reflections_Staats-10029Living close to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds has its definite perks, one of which is being able to share in the excitement of the events and the people who attend them.  This weekend was the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s Back to the 50’s celebration.  The neighborhood has been filled will classic cars from before 1964.  And it’s a great opportunity to photograph the colors and vehicles.  I wandered from red to orange to yellow to blue to maroon – all in shiny finishes that picked up the reflections of the other cars around.  At 9:00am as I was intent on photographing one lovely yellow Bel Air, the PA announcer came on to welcome the 11,500+ registrants for this year’s event.  He then introduced the person to sing our National Anthem.  All cars stopped, all engines were turned off, and everyone paused.  When the singer was done, it is was back to the excitement and the colors that are hallmarks of this event.

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